Monday, March 26, 2012

Random Thought: Is Circumcision Human Ikebana?


I was recently reading a book called "The Book of Tea" by one Kakuzo "Tenshin" Okakura. The book is about the Japanese Tea Ceremony, and it focuses on many aspects of it.

One of the aspects of the Japanese Tea Ceremony is the appreciation of flowers, and there is an entire excerpt dedicated to this one thing. I found part of this chapter to be quite a parallel to the circumcision of children.

Begin excerpt: 
Tell me, gentle flowers, teardrops of the stars, standing in the garden, nodding your heads to the bees as they sing of the dews and the sunbeams, are you aware of the fearful doom that awaits you? Dream on, sway and frolic while you may in the gentle breezes of summer. Tomorrow, a ruthless hand will close around your throats. You will be wrenched torn asunder limb from limb and borne away from your quiet homes. The wretch, she may be passing fair. She may say how lovely you are while her fingers are still moist with your blood. Tell me, will this be kindness? It may be your fate to be imprisoned in the hair of one whom you know to be heartless or to be thrust into the buttonhole of one who would not dare to look you in the face were you a man. It may even be your lot to be confined to some narrow vessel with only stagnant water to quench the maddening thirst that warns of ebbing life.

Flowers, if you were in the land of the Mikado, you might some time meet a dread personage armed with scissors and a tiny saw. He would call himself a Master of Flowers. He would claim the rights of a doctor and you wild instinctively hate him, for you know a doctor always seeks to prolong the troubles of his victims. He would cut, bend, and twist you into those impossible positions which he thinks is proper that you should assume. He would contort your muscles and dislocate your bones like any osteopath. He would burn you with red-hot coals to stop your bleeding, and thrust wires into you to assist your circulation. He would diet you with salt, vinegar, alum, and sometimes, vitriol. Boiling water would be poured on your feet when you seemed ready to faint. it would be his boast that he could keep life within you for two weeks longer than would have been possible without his treatment. Would you not have preferred to have been killed at once when you were first captured? What were the crimes you must have committed during your past incarnation to warrant such punishment as this?

Why were the flowers born so beautiful and yet so hapless? Insects can sting, and even the meekest of beasts will fight when brought to bay. The bird whose plumage is sought to deck some bonnet can fly from its pursuer, the furred animal whose coat you covet for your own may hide at your approach. Alas! The only flower known to have wings is the butterfly; all others stand helpless before the destroyer. If they shriek in their death agony their cry never reaches our hardened ears.


Well? What did you think?

To me, it invokes the vision of a tiny, helpless, sleeping child before an eager circumcisor. It tells the story from the point of view of an onlooker who knows what is about to happen.

This passage is about flowers who are but a means of art for a sculptor. But I think these same principles could be applied to the circumcisor, his subjects and the appreciators of his work. It is all too often I hear from circumcision advocates that they much prefer the circumcised penis because it "looks prettier" and/or more "sexually appealing."


I wonder what the statue of Venus looked like when she had arms...
If she were alive, I wonder, would she have preferred to keep them?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Herpes Circumcision Babies: Another One? Geez!



And just when I thought I'd heard enough about mohels giving babies herpes, another report of a poor Jewish baby with herpes arises.

"Across the board, the infection rate for circumcisions is less than one half of one percent... The baby could have gotten herpes from a relative or someone in the Hospital, or many other people... You can't say for sure it was the circumcision."~Philip Sherman, "Mohel to the Stars"


I've written enough.

Will you do something about this, New York?

Please?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Joseph4GI: One Year Later

Today (March 18) marks the day I started this blog. Not knowing much about how blogs even work, I decided to dive into the world of blogging. I had decided I've ranted and raved about circumcision long enough, that it was time to start organizing my thoughts somewhere, and that perhaps a blog was the next step.

When I started this blog, I had absolutely no experience blogging. But now, it's been a year, and though I've learned a few things here and there, I'm still learning as I go along. There are still a few things I don't quite yet understand, and I'm sure there is a whole lot more that would make my blogging experience easier and more convenient if I knew about it.

There have been other experienced bloggers who have given me pointers along the way. Thanks to them I have learned about customizing URLs, the importance of graphics and some of the gadgets that Blogger has to offer. Users that have been following me may have noticed that I have a new banner (I've only recently learned how to make one and implement it on Blogger, yay...), a favicon, and that I'm slowly building my blog's brand.

Current Stats
To mark my blog's first anniversary, I've decided to share some of my stats to show how far I've come.


Since I've started my blog there have been many ups and downs in views relative to how much I post, and how much impact they have. Readers will note a few prominent spikes this week.




My most read blog post is "Circumcision is Child Abuse: A Picture Essay," followed by my post on the San Francisco Circumcision Ban proposal, and my post "Where Circumcision Doesn't Prevent HIV." My post "PLANNED PARENTHOOD: Mutilated is the New "Normal" is actually quite new, only written at the beginning of February (last month), but as you can see, it has quickly shot up the list within the past few weeks.





My audience seems to be mainly from the United States, though I also get some readership from other English-speaking countries, such as the United Kingdom and Canada. The other countries are an interesting mix; I don't know *why* Japan is just below the US, but above the UK, and Australia is below Germany and India, for example. There are more Firefox users than Internet Explorer users, and Windows users outnumber Mac users, for whatever that is worth.



Overall, my stats indicate that my readership has grown since I've started blogging. I've got 76 posts, and 40 users who are following me openly. (How many are following me secretly? Who knows!) I'd say, not bad for my first year as a novice blogger...

Are you a frequent visitor to this blog? Do you like what you see? Do you have a Blogger account or any other way to "follow" me openly? Add me to your blog list! I know I have more readers that are not on my followers' list. Come out, come out, wherever you are! :-)

Where To From Here?
There is so much more I could be doing, and I hope to learn more about it so that I can improve this blog and increase its visibility. I'm considering possibly changing the blog's name, possibly giving it a proper home on a WordPress or Drupal site, maybe adding other gadgets, possibly a donate button and links to Amazon, but these are only just ideas; they may or may not be brought to fruition in the future. There is a lot I need to consider first, not to mention learn. (Blogger is difficult enough for me!)

So What is This Blog About?
My name is Joseph Lewis, and I am an activist for human rights. My main interests include equal rights. By extension, I am very active in speaking out against the forced genital cutting of healthy, non-consenting minors of any sex. I've chosen the handle Joseph4GI for my online intactivism. Joseph4GI stands for "Joseph for Genital Integrity," and I started this blog mainly as a way to organize all of my thoughts regarding circumcision, particularly the circumcision of infants. On it, readers will find my random rants and musings on circumcision and intactivism.

There are plenty of pro-circumcision "information resources." Additionally, the so-called "benefits" of circumcision are given plenty of attention on all manner of news outlets. In addition to posting my rants and musings, I aim to present information the mainstream media omits, circumvents, or otherwise leaves out.

Up front, I don't pretend to have any kind of "neutral point of view" when it comes the subject of circumcision. I am dead against the forced circumcision of healthy, non-consenting minors, male or female, and I make no exception for "religion" or "culture." The only time that a child should undergo surgery is when there is actual medical or clinical indication, and all other methods of treatment have failed. (This also happens to be standard medical practice.)

Mission Statement
The foreskin is not a birth defect. Neither is it a congenital deformity or genetic anomaly akin to a 6th finger or a cleft. Neither is it a medical condition like a ruptured appendix or diseased gall bladder. Neither is it a dead part of the body, like the umbilical cord, hair, or fingernails. The foreskin is normal, natural, healthy, functioning tissue, with which all boys are born.

Unless there is a medical or clinical indication, the circumcision of a healthy, non-consenting individual is a deliberate wound; it is the destruction of normal, healthy tissue, the permanent disfigurement of normal, healthy organs, and by very definition, infant genital mutilation, and a violation of the most basic of human rights.

Without medical or clinical indication, doctors have absolutely no business performing surgery in healthy, non-consenting individual, much less be eliciting any kind of "decision" from parents.

Genital integrity, autonomy and self-determination are inalienable human rights. I am against the forced circumcision of healthy, non-consenting minors because it violates these rights.


Genital mutilation, whether it be wrapped in culture, religion or “research” is still genital mutilation.

It is mistaken, the belief that the right amount of “science” can be used to legitimize the deliberate violation of basic human rights.

DISCLAIMER:
I speak out against the forced circumcision of healthy, non-consenting minors in any way, shape or form. Please do not conflate my disdain for the forced circumcision of minors with a belittlement of circumcised men, or a hate for Jews. The views I express in this blog are my own individual opinion, and they do not necessarily reflect the views of all intactivists. I am but an individual with one opinion, and I do not pretend to speak for the whole of the intactivist movement, thank you.
~Joseph4GI

To read more about who I am, I have a dedicated blog post readers can view here.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Mohels Spreading Herpes: New York Looks the Other Way


In a recent post, I talk about the second reported case, where a child dies as a result of contracting herpes from a mohel through an obscure circumcision ritual that is practiced only by ultra-orthodox Jews. The ritual in question is called "metzitzah b'peh", and it involves the mohel putting his mouth on the wounded genitals of a newly circumcised Jewish baby boy to suck blood from it.

Well, as I read more and more into it, the plot just keeps getting thicker and thicker.

The last time I heard, Yitzchok Fischer of New York was found to have infected three newborns with herpes via metzitzah b'peh, one of whom died. He was basically pardoned by Health Commissioner of the day, Thomas R. Frieden, and no further action was to be done regarding getting Orthodox leaders to abandon metzitzah b'peh. Frieden's open letter to the Jewish community can be read here.

To prevent the transmission of herpes to other babies, the New York State Department of Health adopted a medical protocol in 2006, requiring ultra-orthodox mohels to wash their mouths with Listerine before performing the procedure.

Well, according to another recent report, the practice was rescinded less than a year later. According to The Jewish Week, Fischer was involved in the infection of yet *another* infant, who was admitted to a hospital with clinical diagnosis of neonatal herpes via oral suction in May, 2007. Based on that, the health department ordered Fischer to stop practicing metzitzah b’peh.

In my last post regarding this matter, I wondered as to the identity of the mohel responsible, and why it was not yet known. Authorities were investigating and the families involved weren't being to forthcoming as to the identity of the person responsible. I wondered if it was this self-same Fischer person whose identity people were trying to protect. Well, it looks like might have actually had reason to suspect. Apparently, despite his order from the health department to stop practicing the obscure oral suction ritual, Fischer is still performing it.

Only Two Out of Many
As I read more, I come to find out that while only these two cases have made the news, Haaretz reports that countless other deaths have not. And these are just the deaths; reports keep coming in of babies being admitted to hospitals for herpes infections with lesions around their genitals. You want to know why you hardly hear of complications due to circumcision? Well, this is why.

What is frustrating is that despite all the evidence piling up, mohels like Philip Sherman have the nerve to act singled out and "upset" that health authorities are doing their jobs.

"This is part of the anti-religious, anti-circumcision trend," Sherman blasts. 

"Across the board, the infection rate for circumcisions is less than one half of one percent... The baby could have gotten herpes from a relative or someone in the Hospital, or many other people... You can't say for sure it was the circumcision."

How long are practitioners of a deadly ritual going to be allowed to get away with denial?

All I've got to say is, the degree to which New York authorities are tip-toeing around the eggshells is getting to be quite ridiculous.

Children are DYING, and they're more concerned about "upsetting" the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community?

How long until they realize that this "tradition" is costing children their LIVES?

Sometimes traditions have to be abandoned.

This is a tradition whose time has come.

May one day this world be a safe place for children of both sexes, free of life-endangering "traditions."

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Spank the Monkey, Eat Tomatoes, or Circumcision: Your Call

On my last post, I discussed a so-called "study" that is making the rounds, which "suggests," but does not actually produce, a causal link between circumcision and a reduced risk of prostate cancer. Nevermind that the claims of this "study" flies in the face of existing real-world data.

It should strike people as odd the time and effort certain "researchers" devote to concoct "studies" that seek to connect circumcision to the "reduction" of some disease. "Researchers" have been trying to justify circumcision, particularly the forced circumcision of healthy, non-consenting minors, for at least two centuries now. One would think that with all of the data they've supposedly gathered, almost two centuries worth of data, they would use it to come up with a solution that supersedes circumcision. After all, that is the whole point of medical science; to seek for better, more effective ways to prevent disease.

Progress is marked by the replacement of the old with the new and better. In the context of medical science, researchers usually seek to find ways to avoid surgery, not necessitate it; to preserve the body, not grope for a reason to deliberately destroy it. Circumcision "research" seems to be unique, in that it is the only instance in medical science where "scientists" and "researchers" aren't seeking to move forward, but to tenaciously cling to an ancient, cherished blood ritual.

Let's assume, for the sake of argument that the "science" behind the latest "study" were actually accurate. Perhaps circumcision MAY somehow "reduce" the risk of prostate cancer, though again, this "benefit" seems to somehow elude the United States, where 80% of American men are circumcised, and yet, according to the American Cancer Society, 1 in 6 men will get prostate cancer.

You wouldn't hear this from a circumcision advocate, but some studies show that masturbation might protect against prostate cancer. Additionally, lycopene in a man's diet may also ward off this deadly disease.

Well, I'm not sure about everyone else, but I would rather much spank the monkey and eat tomatoes than have part of my penis cut off, and I would rather my son choose for himself what he wants, rather than perform a permanent alteration on his genitals that he may not even want in lieu of the alternatives.

Finding better, more effective ways to prevent disease.

Replacing the old with the new and better.

Preserving, not deliberately destroying the human body

Making medical intervention obsolete.

THAT is what medical science is all about.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Latest Pro-Circumcision Canard: "Circumcision Prevents Prostate Cancer"





Could it be that the circumcision/HIV bandwagon is losing steam, and circumcision advocates are, yet again, hunting for another "correlation" between circumcision and some feared disease?

This shouldn't be too surprising; "researchers" have been trying to vindicate this primarily cultural practice for close to two centuries.

In 2006, the WHO used some very dubious "research" to endorse circumcision as prevention method to prevent HIV. Circumcision advocates have tried to hail this as circumcision's "ultimate vindication," though they may have done this a little too soon. (As it is usually the case...)

But now, perhaps noting that not very many people are buying it, "scientists" and "researchers" are looking to "correlate" circumcision with the reduction of other diseases.

I've already written about Brian Morris who has tried to claim that circumcision "reduces the risk of prostate cancer," among other things.

Now, it seems, other "researchers" have taken his lead and are seeking to produce the "correlation," and, as is usually the case, news outlets are already touting the "link" between circumcision and "prostate cancer prevention" as matter of fact.

The MSNBC headline reads: "Circumcision linked to lower prostate cancer risk." According to "researcher" Jonathan Wright, "These data suggest a biologically plausible mechanism through which circumcision may decrease the risk of prostate cancer," but it fails to actually produce it, doesn't it. What's more important is the "suggestion" that media outlets like MSNBC could take and run with.

Not surprisingly, MSNBC quotes Morris in this article. They too seem to be unaware that he is no expert on circumcision, but merely an enthusiastic circumcision fanatic of long standing. He neither holds degrees (nor genuine interests) in surgery, urology, pediatrics, nor epidemiology, and his field of study (Morris is a molecular biologist and professor of molecular medical sciences) is only remotely related to medicine. He is in no way an authority on circumcision, much less male genitalia, child care, nor disease prevention. Why MSNBC author Joseph Brownstein didn't bother to investigate this man's credentials is beyond me. It seems any quack with a white coat can pass as an "expert nowadays.

Reuters' is a bit more informative, conveying that "The new work jibes with those findings, but it falls short of actually proving that removing a boy's foreskin will cut his future cancer risk," as stated by the very author of this "study," Jonathan Wright. "I would not go out and advocate for widespread circumcision to prevent prostate cancer... We see an association, but it doesn't prove causality." 

Still, Reuters' didn't hesitate to use the headline "Circumcision tied to lower prostate cancer risk." Nor did they hesitate to repeat misinformation.

Reuters' Repeats Blatant Misinformation
Without question, and without any actual demonstrable proof, Reuters' goes on to say: "The foreskin is prone to tiny tears during sex, which may help bacteria and viruses enter the bloodstream."

This is stated as matter-of-fact, foregone conclusion. This theory that "the foreskin is prone to tiny tears during sex which may help bacteria viruses enter the bloodstream" is one of the oldest hypotheses on which many a circumcision "study" has been based, beginning with the very circumcision/HIV rubbish that was produced in Africa. 

Few people know this, but it has actually been scientifically demonstrated that circumcision simply makes no difference.

One study found that there is “no difference between the keratinization of the inner and outer aspects of the adult male foreskin,” and that “keratin layers alone were unlikely to explain why uncircumcised men are at higher risk for HIV infection.” Another study found that “no difference can be clearly visualized between the inner and outer foreskin.”

These studies can be seen here:

Dinh, MH; McRaven MD, Kelley Z, Penugonda S, Hope TJ (2010-03-27). “Keratinization of the adult male foreskin and implications for male circumcision.”. AIDS 24 (6): 899-906. PMID 20098294. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20098294.
*Dinh, Minh H; Sheila M Barry, Meegan R Anderson, Scott G McCoombe, Shetha A Shukair, Michael D McRaven, Thomas J Hope (2009-12-06), “HIV-1 Interactions and Infection in Adult Male Foreskin Explant Cultures” (PDF), 16th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, Montreal, Canada, http://retroconference.org/2009/PDFs/502.pdf. 
*One of my readers has pointed out that the second study I cited was just a poster presentation at a conference. While this means too much weight can't be placed on this data, I'm still showing it just for the sake of even argument. After all, arguments in favor of circumcision are often drawn mostly or entirely from unpublished findings.

Reuters' should take note. 

In what I can only see as an effort to mask an ulterior motive, write utters: "We need to do more work to try to understand this... Our overarching goal is to understand how cancer develops in people." 

Really, Mr. Wright? 

Are you sure it's not to establish yet another pro-circumcision canard? 

Real World Fact
According to the American Cancer Society, 1 in 6 American men, 80% of whom are circumcised from birth, will get prostate cancer. If circumcision "prevents prostate cancer," it is not self-evident in the industrialized country with the highest rate of circumcision.

Source: GLOBOCAN 2008 Cancer Fact Sheet

The news outlets who published today's supposed "prostate cancer/circumcision link" ought to explain how the USA got to be the highest line on this prostate cancer incidence chart, when 80% of the male population is circumcised from birth. Readers must note that circumcision rates are much, much lower in Canada and Australia than in the US. Circumcision is not widely practiced in Japan, and limited to Muslims in India. Circumcision has become near universal in the Republic of Korea due to American influence, but note that it hovers above India, and it overtakes Japan.


The scientific community ought to call these "studies" out for what they are:

ABSOLUTE RUBBISH

Scientists and researchers should be looking for newer, better ways to prevent disease, not seek to keep medical science in the stone age.

This is nothing more than yet another attempt to try and vindicate genital mutilation and the deliberate violation of the most basic of human rights.

Genital mutilation, whether it be wrapped in culture, religion or “research” is still genital mutilation.

It is mistaken, the belief that the right amount of “science” can be used to legitimize the deliberate violation of basic human rights.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Circumcision Indicted in Yet Another Death: Rabbis and Mohels are "Upset"


A two-week old baby boy died in a Brooklyn hospital, his official cause of death pronounced as "disseminated herpes simplex virus Type 1, complicating ritual circumcision with oral suction."

The Jewish tradition of circumcision, particularly an obscure tradition practiced by only the most ultra-orthodox Jews, is to blame. The tradition in question, known in Hebrew as "metzitzah b'peh", involves the ritual circumciser putting his mouth on the wounded genitals of a newly circumcised Jewish baby boy to suck blood from it.

 Mohel Performing Metzitzah B'Peh on Baby

The cause of death clearly indicts the tradition in question, but this finding has made rabbis and mohels that perform it, according to KTLA, "upset."

According to one mohel Philip Sherman (who also happens to toot his own horn in New York, and LOUDLY), "Across the board, the infection rate for circumcisions is less than one half of one percent." Where does he get these figures? Who is taking count?

"This is part of the anti-religious, anti-circumcision trend,"
Sherman blasts.

This could be it.

Maybe.

Or maybe, just MAYBE it might have just a tiny, teensy-weensy bit to do with the rights of the children involved?

You know, some of whom actually lose more than just their foreskin, if not DIE???

Mohels in Denial
In my encounters on the internet, I often hear people boast about how mishaps never happen with Jewish mohels. Jewish mohels, some advocates argue, are the most qualified people to be performing circumcisions, because they "do this for a living."

Strangely enough, when mishaps like glans ablations (in recent years there have been a few law suits involving glans ablations at the hands of mohels) or even DEATHS happen, the mohel, nor the circumcision are EVER to blame. There's always something wrong with the child, or some outside influence was to blame. There was something wrong with the clamp. The child had a bad heart. He was struck by lighting. Whatever it takes to draw attention away from the fact that the child was doing perfectly well prior to the circumcision.

Defends circumciser Sherman: "The baby could have gotten herpes from a relative or someone in the Hospital, or many other people... You can't say for sure it was the circumcision."

Or the baby might have gotten it directly from the mohel who may have carried the virus?

But sources won't say. At least two sources say that the mohel in question cannot be identified. (Here and here.)

Why not find the mohel and test him for herpes?

We've Seen This Before
This wouldn't be the first time that a child has died as a result of contracting herpes from the mohel through the oral suction ritual. In 2005, Yitzchok Fischer of New York was found to have infected three newborns with herpes via metzitzah b'peh, one of whom died. As in this current case, rabbis and mohels raised a ruckus, and Fischer was basically pardoned by Health Commissioner of the day, Thomas R. Frieden. No further action was to be done regarding getting Orthodox leaders to abandon metzitzah b'peh. Frieden's open letter to the Jewish community can be read here.

Who is this mystery mohel? Could it be the self-same Yitzchok Fischer and his name is shamelessly being withheld to protect his identity?

Why?
Why is it that parents go to jail if they try to circumcise their own children, but when a mohel kills a child, rabbis and mohels get "upset" and they automatically get a get-out-of-jail-free card? Is it because doing something about stopping further child endangerment is considered "anti-Semitic" when the perpetrators are Jewish?

"Across the board, the infection rate for circumcisions is less than one half of one percent," argues Philip Sherman. But is this any real justification?

There is a risk for infection, period. There are other risks too, such as partial or full ablation, and even death, as we see here. Because the child is healthy and not in need of any surgical intervention, how is anything above ZERO conscionable?

This is absolutely revolting. If the sex of the baby were female, the most devout imam would be arrested and jailed, and it wouldn't matter if it made other imams or Muslim leaders "upset."

It is absolutely despicable, absolutely disgusting that anybody would ever seek to justify this "tradition." This so-called "tradition" has already produced two reported deaths (and possibly more that have gone unreported), and religious leaders get "upset" that anyone dare call it out?

Can't we just call this "tradition" what it is?

Glorified sado-masochistic child fellatio?

Let It Be Clear
Circumcision carries risks, including infection, partial or full ablation, and even death. The risks are present whether it be carried out by a secular non-Jewish doctor or a mohel. Because it is performed on children who are healthy and not in need of any surgical intervention, the risks are unconscionable.

How many deaths and circumcision botches will it take for people to wake up?

DISCLAIMER:
What I've expressed in this blog is my own individual opinion, and it does not necessarily reflect the view of all intactivists. Please do not confuse my disdain for the forced circumcision of healthy, non-consenting minors with a hate for Jews. The overwhelming majority of circumcisions in this country are secular, non-Jewish circumcisions that happen at hospitals. I oppose the forced circumcision of healthy, non-consenting minors whether it be carried out by mohels or by secular doctors. Genital mutilation, whither it be wrapped in culture, religion or “research” is, in the end, still genital mutilation. ~Joseph4GI

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

If You Can't Stand the Heat, STAY OFF THE NET


You know what absolutely gets on my nerves? When some idiot parents find it gracious to post their child's circumcision on the web for the whole world to see. Some parents actually think it's "cute" or "funny" to post their son's circumcision "story" on a blog, or they actually have the nerve to record it and put it on YouTube of all places. It's the one time on the net where it's perfectly kosher to be pimping your child's dick online and not have it be called kiddy porn.

But you know what pisses me off even more? When said parents actually have the NERVE to tell people leaving comments to "MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS! WE'RE THE PARENTS, WE DECIDE. DON'T YOU DARE JUDGE ME."

Really?

You actually post your son's naked body, figuratively or literally online for the whole world to see, and then you're surprised to read that some people actually find your cute little "story" offensive and/or disgusting?

Seriously?

I've got news for you.

Once you post shit online, it's fair game.

People are going to give you a piece of their mind, whether you want it or not.

If you don't want to hear it from others, or be "judged" for the so-called "decisions" that you take, then at least have the decency to make posts about your PERSONAL, "PRIVATE" LIFE visible ONLY TO THOSE IN YOUR PERSONAL, PRIVATE CIRCLE.

Or better yet, keep your sick, disgusting "life" OFFLINE. NOBODY WANTS TO SEE YOUR SON'S GENITALS BEING MUTILATED, much less KNOW about them. They're not even YOUR privates, how in the HELL do you feel entitled to have them mutilated to suit YOUR tastes and preferences, much less POST THEM ON THE FUCKING INTERNET FOR THE WHOLE WORLD TO SEE???

UGH!!!

Such parents should get thrown in JAIL for pimping their children's PERSONAL PRIVATE PARTS ONLINE. This is tantamount to S&M KIDDY PORN.

I DO NOT WANT TO SEE, NOR KNOW ABOUT YOUR CHILD'S GENITAL MUTILATION.

WAKE UP PEOPLE.

The world is waking up to the fact that yes, like female infant circumcision, male infant circumcision IS TOO GENITAL MUTILATION.

If you don't want to hear it from others, if you do not want to hear other people's "opinions," then do the world a favor and DON'T POST ON THE INTERNET.

This fucking PISSES ME OFF.

If you don't want people talking about your unmentionables,
DON'T AIR THEM OUT IN PUBLIC.

So What Prompted this Rant?
So some Norine Dworkin-McDaniel woman dares to write on her blog, the "funny" story of how she convinced her push-over husband to go through with a circumcision for their son.

The story is actually quite tasteless. And what was the alibi that finally convinced Dworkin-McDaniel's husband to acquiescence to his son's genital flaying?

The prospect of future hypothetical women refusing to give the boy a blowjob.

Wow.

They thought about it, erm, long and hard.

Get it?

Hardy har har...

That was so funny I nearly died!

(Not...)

No but wait. It would have been nice if the story ended there. Oh, no, no, no.

Some OTHER idiot blogger had to give this story a "prize."

A "PRIZE???"

A prize for WHAT?

"Best excuse to mutilate a child's genitals?"

No. The words used to "award" this woman are "fearless and funny."

I'll say, "fearless?" In this world where male infant genital mutilation is losing favor in the civilized world fast?

You betcha.

"Funny?"

HARDLY.

There is nothing EVER funny about "choosing" to violate the most basic of human rights of a healthy, non-consenting individual.

You can read about the "winning" blog post, and the "prize" given here.

Mr. Dworkin-McDaniel Retaliates
It seems MISTER Dworkin-McDaniel was not happy with the negative response his wife's blog post earned, and so he felt the need to fire back at those who expressed disgust at his wife's "funny little story." He posted a long response on a pro-intact group on Facebook, and I'm going to tear it apart on this blog.

Writes Dworkin-McDaniel:
"Stewart Dworkin-McDaniel here, Norine’s “emasculated” husband, just wanting to weigh in on some of the less than charitable (and profoundly stupid, judgmental, and uninformed) comments regarding my wife’s brilliantly funny essay."

Well golly-geepers, gee-whiz! It appears we may have struck a nerve. By now he must know that not everybody found his wife's essay as "brilliantly funny" as he did. 

As a central character in what was intended to be a light witty distillation of our discussions regarding our decision to have our son circumcised, I feel the need to respond to the vitriolic comments attacking my wife and me that stemmed from our mutual decision. 

The road to hell is paved with good intent. "Light and witty" for WHOM? For WHOM was this blog post written? For others, or for yourselves? Sorry, not very many people agreed with you, did they.

Let's talk about the "big decision" trope.

What other parts of your child's body could you "decide" to remove at your whim?

The question that will always be asked on this blog is, without medical or clinical indication, how is it a doctor can even be performing surgery on a healthy, non-consenting child, much less be stoking a parent's sense of entitlement? 

Usually, with any other surgery, there must be a medical necessity before a doctor can even consider performing it, let alone consult the parents for any kind of "decision."

So, what was wrong with your son?

"First, Norine and I are both staunch atheists so our decision was not in any way driven by religious duty or dogma."

This just means that you were looking for non-religious ex-posto-facto reasons to go through with a pre-determined "decision" to keep a controversial tradition.

"I actually find the concept of a traditional Jewish Bris to be in very poor taste. Throwing a party to celebrate an invasive medical procedure to cement some mythical pact with an old testament deity is not my idea of making an informed medically sound decision." 

Translation: We wanted to circumcise our son, but we wanted to find smart-sounding "scientific" reasons to do it because using "religion" as an excuse is falling out of favor, as evidenced by other "traditions" that would never fly with the same excuse. (IE, female circumcision, slashing your child's head on the day of Ashura, ritual scarring, tattoos, etc...) 

"Also, I find comments comparing male circumcision to clitioridectomy to be especially distasteful and profoundly uninformed." 

You know what I find distasteful?

Attacking and destroying a straw man to make your argument look good.

Talk about profoundly uninformed; did you know that not all female genital cutting involves the removal of the clitoris? Did you know that a couple of years ago the AAP briefly approved of a so-called "ritual nick" before they were forced to back-pedal by human rights groups?

You know what I find to be "distasteful?"

Comparing the lesser of two evils.

You can't get away with rape "because murder is worse." You can't get away with shop lifting because "Hey! You could be robbing a bank." 

Cutting off part of a child's genitals with no medical or clinical indication is wrong, male or female. 

"Female circumcision is a detestable, horrific act performed in misogynistic cultures to control women, deprive them of pleasure, and make them servile. It should be prosecuted at every opportunity in a civilized world. Male circumcision on the other hand, has been shown to have real benefits for the recipient in a non-religious context, both medically and psychologically and is in no way comparable to the disgusting violation of the female genitalia (which is without exception, performed on “religious grounds”)." 

But WE'RE the "uninformed" ones.

Here, let me enlighten you Mr. Dworkin-McDaniel. Female circumcision is performed on women BY women, because it is believed to make them more "pure," more "hygienic" and more desirable in the eyes of a male suitor. Does that sound familiar, Mr. "I want my son to get blowjobs?"

 Women performing "sunat" operations on girls.


Did you know that, according to Rabbi Maimonides, to deprive men of pleasure and make them "servile" to "g-d" was supposed to be the whole point of male circumcision?

"...one of the reasons for it is... the wish to bring about a decrease in sexual intercourse and a weakening of the organ in question, so that this activity be diminished and the organ be in as quiet a state as possible."
~Rabbi Maimonides


You are "just fine" and your organs work to your satisfaction. But you know, millions of circumcised women will testify as you do; they are just as sexually satisfied as you are, thank you very much. You would be interested to know that, contrary to popular belief, female circumcision is not always as "damaging" as you would like to lead others on to believe.



Did you know that contrary to popular belief, no, circumcision DOESN'T destroy a woman's ability to orgasm? Studies show that even when a woman has undergone the worst kind of female genital mutilation (there are many types, did you know that?), that women are still quite able to orgasm? You can read them for yourself here, here, and here.

Closer inspection reveals that nobody actually cares about whether or not female circumcision reduces sexuality or not; what's more important is that male infant circumcision is justified.

But let's continue on a bit with the so-called "benefits."

Neither you nor your wife were interested in these. If I am to believe your wife's blog, this was about whether or not your son would get "blow jobs" as an adult. The "benefits" seem to be secondary.

This point needs to be made clear; neither you nor your wife ever cared about "benefits." Nobody ever does. Those are ex-posto-facto alibis that come AFTER the fact.

Or let me ask, would you have changed your mind had you not found enough "benefits?"

Tell me, is there any number of "benefits" that would make you change your mind and consider female circumcision for your daughters? Some research shows that female circumcision might actually prevent HIV transmission. Read about this here, here, and here.

What if it guaranteed her getting eaten out as a woman? Would that change your mind?

No. It wouldn't.

The point is, "research" and "science" don't actually matter.

Your "decision" to go ahead with your son's genital mutilation runs deeper than that, and you know it. 

"But I digress; back to my son’s foreskin. I am a scientist. A degreed biologist and chemist (with a minor in philosophy by the way)." 

You know who was also a scientist?

Joseph Mengele. 

"Therefore when I look at an argument; as a scientist, I apply the rigorous, critical weighing of evidence and data that the scientific method demands and I do not deviate from those axioms and precepts. Philosophically, the arguments range far and wide from Bentham and Mill’s utilitarianism with respect to human suffering to Norine’s comment about the blowjob which was (and most importantly, was supposed to be) a humorous way to drive the point home to me that the foreskin can be an intimidating (and by some accounts) a distasteful distraction to fellatio (ever heard of smegma????)" 

Like the so-called "benefits" of circumcision, you do not care about the "science" either, for if you did, you would find that it is all rather flimsy.

Did you know that no medical organization in the world recommends the circumcision of infants? I challenge you to go through the position statements of all the major medical organizations in the industrialized world. They will all tell you that all the "scientific evidence" is dubious and speculative at best, and that there is not enough of it to recommend circumcision. One has to wonder how ever did you come to a different conclusion than the most respected medical organizations in the world.

Yes, we've heard of smegma. Tell us, how much of it collects around Ms. Dworkin-McDaniel's vulva?


Oh, she cleans well enough?

Did it ever occur to you that the rest of the men in the world also have the good sense to keep their organs clean?

Do you dare posit that men outside of the United States have a hard time getting a blow job from their partners?

I'm sorry, but as I will keep repeating, your wife's post was anything but "humorous." 

"If Norine’s detractors really think that I consented to the procedure solely on the basis of my son having better, future (a long way in the future I trust!!) sexual experiences, then I marvel at their stupidity and narrow-mindedness. My decision to acquiesce was based on the enumerable studies Norine presented to me regarding the benefits of circumcision that have nothing to do with Yahweh but are based on good solid science." 

Then she should have written that.

Not humorous, AND out-of-touch.

THIS got a "prize?"

No, you and your wife's decision had absolutely NOTHING to do with "science," as I am about to point out. 

"Lower incidence of certain cancers, lower incidence of genital and urinary infections, and decreased chances of contracting or spreading STD’s including AIDS." 

If you were a true "scientist," you would find that all of the "evidence" is rather lacking. You would find that when you compare cancer rates between countries that do and do not circumcise, there is no difference; circumcised men can and do succumb to penile cancer. You would find that the "reduction" that circumcision is supposed to offer is actually quite exaggerated.



You would find that the incidence of UTIs in males is already quite rare; UTIs are more prevalent in females, and are easily treatable with anti-biotics, in boys as they are in girls. The "difference," if any, between UTIs is actually infinitesimally minute, and that circumcision may actually INCREASE them. You would find that a lot of the "research" has been discarded as hopelessly flawed. You would find that the STD's that circumcision are supposed to prevent, including HIV, are more prevalent in the US, where 80% of males are already circumcised from birth, than in other countries in Europe, and the rest of the world, where circumcision is rare.

You would find that, the "research" in Africa is hopelessly flawed. You would find that even if the "research" and the "science" were correct, circumcision would still fail. It would be so ineffective at preventing anything that "experts" that "recommend" circumcision cannot stress the use of condoms. Did you know that condoms don't require a penis be circumcised to function properly?

But this isn't about "science," or "research," now is it.

No. This is about fulfilling cultural expectations, while sounding intelligent at the same time.

Think about this:

Is there any number of "scientific studies?" Any amount of "research" that would EVER cause you to change your mind about female circumcision?

What if the "science" was "solid" and it was proven "beyond reasonable doubt" that female circumcision could "reduce the risk" of some STD that your daughter will most likely not even be at risk for?

The answer is no, you wouldn't.

You and your wife's "decision" to circumcise your son was pre-determined, and this "blog essay" was supposed to be your self-serving justification.

Genital mutilation, whither it be wrapped in culture, religion or “research” is still genital mutilation.
It is mistaken, the belief that the right amount of “science” can be used to legitimize the deliberate violation of basic human rights.

"I’d love to know how many negative comments came from people who have had tummy tucks, face lifts, liposuction, cosmetic dentistry, or other medical procedures that were strictly vanity motivated. In my mind, that’s self-inflicted mutilation with no regard for weighing medical evidence as to the safety or necessity of the procedure. In short, don’t lecture us about our family medical decisions while you admire your silicon breasts in the bathroom mirror." 

A straw-man demolition, and non-sequitur arguments.

The assumption is that there were indeed dissenters in Dworkins-McDaniel's readership who had cosmetic surgery such as tummy tucks, face lifts, liposuction etc. Problem is, his argument fails even if his assumption were correct.

Mr. Dworkins-McDaniel conflates elective surgery that adults may choose for themselves, and infant circumcision, which is being imposed by parents and a doctor on a healthy, non-consenting child. If there is no medical indication for surgery, then there is no "family medical decision" to make.

The problem isn't adults choosing cosmetic surgery; the problem is adults imposing cosmetic surgery on a healthy, non-consenting child.

As long as otherwise intelligent people are forcing cosmetic surgery on their children for their own sexual justifications, and as long as they're posting their stories on the NET WHERE EVERYONE CAN SEE, yes we WILL lecture you.

So listen to what we have to say, or stop posting your "family decisions" online.


Thanks. 

"There are also psychological implications with respect to an un-circumcised child being ridiculed, ostracized, or worse by their peers but those issues need not concern us here since the mental health and welfare of the child doesn’t seem to factor into any of the more negative comments posted." 

Scraping the bottom of the barrel I see.

And what are you teaching your child by mutilating him so that he is not "ridiculed" or "ostracised" by his hypothetical peers?


"It is more important that you fit in and give in to societal pressures than to be yourself, and have others accept you for who you are, as you are."


So are you going to send him to straight school if he turns out to be gay?

Are you going to give him a rhinoplasty if his nose gets too big? Are you going to trim his ears if they start getting too wide? Are you going to bleach his skin if it starts getting too dark? Where does it stop?

Conformity may actually, quite possibly be the WORST reason to perform circumcision on a child.

"Finally, the referencing of websites and studies that bolster your position is absurd, touting them as if they are gospel truth. I can find many expert and scholarly opinions in the opposing camp. It is a hollow position akin to “whoever yells the loudest is right” and it carries no weight with me." 

You were supposed to RESEARCH the material given to you, and confirm the SOURCES. Don't tell me you actually just READ what is written on webpages, and believe the bits and pieces that suit you at face value??? You would have found that there is actually very little evidence to support your "decision." Yeah, some "scientist" YOU are...

"I can find websites that profess that the world is flat, JFK was murdered by the phone company, and we never landed men on the moon (Neil Armstrong was cut by the way)." 

More straw-men demolition. Unlike these websites, our sources can actually be confirmed. There is no "controversy," even among the scientific elite. With a little research you would find that the trend of opinion on routine male circumcision is overwhelmingly negative in industrialized nations.

No respected medical board in the world recommends circumcision for infants, not even in the name of HIV prevention. They must all point to the risks, and they must all state that there is no convincing evidence that the benefits outweigh these risks. World medical authorities that agree include the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the Canadian Paediatric Society, the British Medical Association, and the Royal Dutch Medical Association.

It ought to baffle readers how a "man of science" like you could have ever arrived at the conclusion you have.

"The bottom line (voiced by the more enlightened and informed respondents on the comment board whether they agree with us or not), is that we made a personal, private decision based on sound medical evidence and ultimately, and that decision was NOBODY’S BUSINESS BUT OURS (and apparently better than half of the US populous currently shares our opinion/decision).

Ah yes, strength in numbers.

Unfortunately for you, it is quite possible for large populations to be wrong. Take female circumcision, for example.

No, the bottom line is, if it's a "personal, private decision," and it's "nobody else's business but ours" you should have NOT POSTED IT ON THE NET.

Once it's on the NET, then it stops being "personal and private."

Do you get it?


"Perhaps in the future there will be a definitive verdict on the circumcision decision but that day is not today." 

Or so you would like to believe.

I encourage you to read the position statements of the best medical authorities in the world. They all state that there isn't enough evidence to endorse infant circumcision. It should strike you as odd that parents are expected to make a "decision" based on evidence that major medical organizations in the world could not use to come to a reasonable conclusion. 

"I’m sure when I let my son read this many years from now, he will not only forgive us for getting him cut, (we have his foreskin in cryonic suspension in case he wants it back; oh, by the way, that’s funny) but he will be glad that his mother and I spent so much time weighing the decision based on the prevailing knowledge from the medical establishment available to us at the time." 

"Here you are son... a part of your penis that you will never get to experience thanks to us."

Actually, no that's not very funny at all.

How do you know he won't be pissed as all fuck, not only that you mutilated him, but also that you publicized his mutilation online and felt the need to respond apprehensively to those who didn't think it was "funny?"

How do you know he won't feel anger and hatred towards you for using bullshit excuses to carry out a cultural ritual to permanently mutilate his organs for life?

How do you know he would have cared less about any "medical benefits" that are already easily achieved with less invasive means?

Just how do you know he's not going to grow up to hate your guts?

Let's hope he doesn't and, as you say, he grows up to "thank" you.

But be aware that that other possibility exists. 

"As a footnote, what I find so sad and pathetic is that I needed to write this at all." 

And yet, you chose to go ahead and write it...

"I find the negative comments directed at us (Norine) to be just as offensive and unenlightened as those who deem gay marriage or abortion to be wrong in black and white terms with no room or desire for discussion. IF YOU DON’T AGREE WITH GAY MARRIAGE, DON’T MARRY SOMEONE OF THE SAME SEX, IF YOU DON’T AGREE WITH ABORTION, DON’T HAVE ONE, IF YOU DON’T WANT TO GET YOUR SON CIRCUMSISED, THEN DON’T. Just don’t tell the rest of us we’re immoral and barbaric if we decide to do otherwise." 

Again, false comparisons, and yet another straw man demolition.

Marriage is something that two consenting adults decide to do.

Abortion is a decision taken by a woman deciding to exercise her freedom of choice to do whatever she wants with her body.

(Actually, the abortion debate is a red-herring; neither side of the abortion debate can successfully argue in favor of child genital mutilation. If you are "pro-choice," then you must believe the maxim "my body, my choice" applies to BOTH sexes. And if you are "pro-life," then you must certainly advocate for a child's right to his own body, as you do his "right to life.")

Infant circumcision involves the genital mutilation of healthy, non-consenting minors.

It violates the most basic of human rights, that of the right to one's own body. For this reason male and female circumcision, though not always comparable, are exactly the same in principle.

"If you don't want to get your son circumcised, then don't" doesn't work if you change the word "son" with "daughter," does it.

No, as long as you or your wife, or anybody else is willing to post their pitiful self-justification stories online for the whole world to see, you had better be ready to hear it. If this is "nobody's business but yours," then keep it to yourselves and don't post it publicly on the net.

By the way, I am the satisfied owner of a well groomed (and well-attended) penis. 

I'm not sure what purpose this last bit was supposed to serve. Self-reassurance for having a mutilated member maybe?

The True Purpose of That Blog Post
I'm not buying it. From your reply I can already tell that there was no actual convincing your wife actually had to do. The "decision" was already made. The true purpose of your wife's blog post was to fill a void in her psyche that would otherwise be filled with the joke-telling and whistling in the dark that happens at a bris. She may call herself "atheist," but as someone of Jewish heritage she felt the need to circumcise her son out of conviction. It must have freaked her out to think of raising an intact boy; she probably couldn't handle the daily visual reminder that she's renounced her connection with her Jewish heritage, and so she dug up every scientific sounding article she could that would support her view and make her "decision" sound "intelligent." She wanted to come off as being the "intelligent one," and you the more "sex-oriented male" type, which I find rather sexist and insulting, and can't see for the life of me why you let her write shit like that about you.

The true purpose of your wife's blog post was not so much to tell about how you guys arrived at your "decision," but more to tell about how the both of you mulled over something that was already decided. It was about providing comic relief for the both of you, and she was hoping her readers were just going to laugh along with you.

Well, she was wrong.

Her article was NOT "fearless and funny," but rather, utterly failed to conceal her fear and anxiety. It was a pitiful attempt to secure corroboration and approval. I'm sorry, but there is no virtue in mulling over doing something you KNOW is wrong.


The Bottom Line:
The foreskin is not a birth defect. Neither is it a congenital deformity or genetic anomaly akin to a 6th finger or a cleft. Neither is it a medical condition like a ruptured appendix or diseased gall bladder. Neither is it a dead part of the body, like the umbilical cord, hair, or fingernails. The foreskin is normal, natural, healthy, FUNCTIONING tissue, with which all boys are born.

Unless there is a medical or clinical indication, the circumcision of healthy, non-consenting individuals is a deliberate wound; it is the destruction of normal, healthy tissue, the permanent disfigurement of normal, healthy organs, and by very definition, infant genital mutilation, and a violation of the most basic of human rights.

Without medical or clinical indication, doctors have absolutely no business performing surgery in healthy, non-consenting individual, much less be eliciting any kind of "decision" from parents.

SHAME on "Two Kinds of People" for enabling Norine Dworkin-McDaniel. SHAME on "Two Kinds of People" for perpetuating the illusion of "the great circumcision decision." SHAME on them for awarding the trivialization of child male genital mutilation. SHAME on them for thinking this disgusting article was "funny and humorous."
"Genital mutilation is no joke."
~Christopher Hitchens
DISCLAIMER:
What I've expressed in this blog is my own individual opinion, and it does not necessarily reflect the view of all intactivists. ~Joseph4GI

Thursday, March 1, 2012

AUSTRALIA: Brian Morris vs. Modern Medicine


Could it be that ratings are low and Australian news outlets need a controversial story to spice them up? It seems, in these cases, an article promoting circumcision is obligatory, and it never seems to deviate from the usual format. It is usually always something along the lines of "experts say," the "experts" trotted out always being the same usual suspects.

The story always goes something like this: Brian Morris is presented as an "expert" presenting "the latest studies," usually ones written by none other than himself, which tout all the "benefits" of child circumcision. Nothing is ever mentioned about the function of the foreskin, nor the ethical implications of cutting it off in a healthy, non-consenting child. Horrifying statistics that simply fail to correlate with reality are always bandied about, and the audience is warned of the dangers that befall their children if they're not circumcised immediately. The article usually ends on a note of dire warning, indicting the Royal Australasian College of Physicians for not endorsing infant circumcision.

What news outlets usually fail to inform their audience is that Brian Morris is no expert on circumcision, but merely an enthusiastic circumcision fanatic of long standing. He neither holds degrees (nor genuine interests) in surgery, urology, pediatrics, nor epidemiology, and his field of study is only remotely related to medicine. He is in no way an authority on circumcision, much less male genitalia, child care, nor disease prevention. Is there any reason why Australian news outlets don't bother to consult someone who is?

In his latest appearance in the media (the same article with a different name is published again here), Brian Morris, more strongly than ever, indicts the RACP for not taking a stronger stance in favor of male infant circumcision, calling for the ban on non-therapeutic circumcision in public hospitals to be lifted, and for routine infant circumcision to be publicly funded by Medicaid. He does so citing his own "research" as usual, warning of the usual dire consequences that befalls Australians if they don't take their children in to be circumcised.

His latest "report," backed by other circumcision "experts," claims, of all things, that not being circumcised results in a higher risk for prostate cancer. Where on earth is he getting these "statistics" from? Is he not aware that, according to the American Cancer Society, 1 in 6 US men, 80% of whom are circumcised, will get prostate cancer?

He also mentions penile cancer, where the American Cancer Society says:

In the past, circumcision has been suggested as a way to prevent penile cancer. This was based on studies that reported much lower penile cancer rates among circumcised men than among uncircumcised men. But in many of those studies, the protective effect of circumcision was no longer seen after factors like smegma and phimosis were taken into account.

Most public health researchers believe that the risk of penile cancer is low among uncircumcised men without known risk factors living in the United States. Men who wish to lower their risk of penile cancer can do so by avoiding HPV infection and not smoking. Those who aren't circumcised can also lower their risk of penile cancer by practicing good hygiene. Most experts agree that circumcision should not be recommended solely as a way to prevent penile cancer.

The rest is the usual pro-circumcision fodder, UTIs, HIV, HPV etc. He, of course, fails to mention that, even if his information were correct (which it is rather questionable),  there would be more effective, less invasive methods of treatment and prevention available. UTI is actually already quite rare in boys, for example, and easily treated with anti-biotics. Condoms would be more effective than circumcision in preventing HIV in BOTH partners, and there are already vaccines for HPV, which, by the way, is easier spread by circumcised, not intact men.

Quite simply, Morris' position is impertinent, and unfounded. The diseases he warns about aren't rampant in countries where circumcision is rare, such as the UK, Japan, Germany, Denmark, AUSTRALIA, etc. As a matter of fact, they're a huge problem in the US, where 80% of US men are already circumcised from birth. America actually has the highest rates of HIV transmission in the industrialized world. The so-called "benefits" of circumcision simply fail to manifest themselves here.

The fact of the matter is that the trend of opinion on routine male circumcision is overwhelmingly negative in industrialized nations. No respected medical board in the world recommends circumcision for infants, not even in the name of HIV prevention. They must all point to the risks, and they must all state that there is no convincing evidence that the benefits outweigh these risks. World medical authorities that agree include the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the Canadian Paediatric Society, the British Medical Association, and the Royal Dutch Medical Association.

If the best medical authorities in the West have not endorsed infant circumcision, it is because they have reviewed all of the evidence and have found no good reason. Brian Morris is taking an impertinent and unfounded position against the whole of Western medicine. He tarnishes the reputation of the University of Sydney, and Australian news outlets ought to be ashamed for presenting him as any sort of "expert" on the subject.